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Cloud Seeding Overview



  Sep 06, 2023

Primer on Cloud Seeding


Cloud seeding is a form of weather modification that aims to enhance precipitation by introducing agents into clouds to stimulate the precipitation process. Here's a concise overview:
 

What is Cloud Seeding?

It involves the dispersion of substances (like silver iodide, potassium iodide, or crushed dry ice (solid carbon dioxide)) into the air that act as cloud condensation or ice nuclei. These particles encourage the growth of larger cloud droplets, eventually leading to precipitation.
 

How is it done?

Aircrafts: Planes can be equipped to release the seeding agents.
 
Ground-based Generators: Produce and release seeding agents, allowing them to be carried up by winds.
 
Rockets or Artillery: Deliver agents to higher altitudes.
 

When is it Effective?

Cloud seeding doesn't produce rain from clear skies. It enhances the precipitation process in clouds that already have some moisture.
 
Ideal clouds are those that have moisture but lack the necessary particles for precipitation.
 

Where has it been used?

Many countries, including the US, China, and Australia, have used cloud seeding to enhance water supply, reduce forest fires, and improve air quality.
 

Concerns and Limitations:

Not always effective: Success depends on the type and condition of the clouds.
 
Environmental Concerns: Worries about potential ecological impacts, especially with the use of chemicals.
 
Ethical Concerns: "Stealing" rain from downstream areas.
 

The Case of Maharashtra:

The Maharashtra government's interest in cloud seeding is driven by significant rainfall deficits and depleted dam levels. While the technique can potentially enhance rainfall in regions with passing clouds, it cannot 'bring' rain clouds to drought areas.
 
The decision to deploy cloud seeding is often a matter of weighing the potential benefits against the costs, both financial and ecological. For regions like Maharashtra, where agriculture plays a pivotal role in the economy and livelihoods, solutions like these might be vital.
 
To understand Cloud Seeding and related stories, visit SRIRAM's IAS on Telegram, Instagram, Facebook Page, and the www.sriramsias.com.


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